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Cabarrus Magazine

North Carolina Zoo, Largest “Walk Through” Zoo in the World

Sep 15, 2018 01:27PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Courtesy of the North Carolina Zoo Facebook page.

It's no mystery that the North Carolina Zoo has been a staple in the state of North Carolina since its opening in August of 1974. However, did you know that it's the largest walk-through zoo in the world?

The North Carolina Zoo is 500 acres of spacious habitats, and home to 1,600 animals of more than 200 species.It also houses the "largest collection of chimpanzees of any zoo in America, as well as the largest collection of Alaskan seabirds in the country." (Source

The two main exhibits within the zoo are "Africa" and "North America." These habitats are uniquely laid out to match the natural needs of each animal. In fact, the North Carolina Zoo was the first zoo in the US to create habitats that were specifically curated to the natural environment of the animals, including structures, plant life, and more. 

In 2015, during the March primary election, the Connect NC Bond referendum was approved. The referendum states, "It also includes an investment of $25 million for upgrades to service support facilities, trails and exhibits at the widely renowned North Carolina Zoo." The funds the referendum references are to go to the zoo to begin building an Asia exhibit and habitat with exotic animals such as more tigers, rhinos, and orangutans, among others. 

Conservation is also a large focus of the zoo. "From vultures to gorillas in Africa to endangered plants and amphibians in our own state," their website states. "The North Carolina Zoo has been involved with the conservation of animals in the wild for over two decades." 

They also recently joined the Conservation Centers for Special Survival (C2S2) as a full member to continue conservation efforts. The C2S2 is a group dedicated to the large-scale conservation of animals in North America. In joining this group, the North Carolina Zoo will be able to continue their work in the preservation and conservation of endangered species and wildlife. C2S2 currently has several programs that complement the current work at the Zoo including programs for the American red wolf, addra gazelle and other African hoofstock, and a new program that focuses on North American songbirds.

The zoo is open 364 days a year and receives more than 700,000 visitors annually. To keep up with what is happening, you can visit their website

Have you been to the zoo? Tell us in the comments! 

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